Unpublished letter to the Editor re Lynn Stephen's Contributions to Women's History in BC

Wednesday, July 28 2010

Unpublished letter to the Editor re Lynn Stephen's Contributions to Women's History in BC

The Victoria Status of Women Action Group was submitted this letter to the Victoria News and was informed by them that while it would not be published in the Oct. 24 paper, it would appear the following week, which is today, the 31st. But no, it was not printed, so we are sending it out on our distribution list.

The was sent in response to Lynn Stephen's letter regarding Women's History Month. You can read a version of her letter on the Community Aboriginal and Women's Services.

If you feel inspired to write to Lynn about her "contribution" to women's history, her contact information is at the end of this email.


Victoria News

Letter to Editor,

In her letter last week (Oct. 17) about Women's History Month, Lynn Stephen's, Minister of State for Women's Equality, writes how BC is home to many political "firsts" for women.

One of "firsts" Stephen's will not mention is that BC is the first province to be singled out for criticism by a United Nations committee for their cuts to social programs and the resulting "negative impact on women". (CEDAW- UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, February 03).

Helena Gutteridge, who's biography is called "the Struggle for Social Justice" must be rolling in her grave for being part of the feature of women in BC history on the Lynn Stephen's ministry website. Stephen's political "legacy" is being the terminator of women's centres and cheerleader of government cuts which inordinately affect women.

In addition, she will also be noted for her obtuse views about women. In a 2002 interview in the Langley Advance newspaper she stated that if inequality exists between men and women it is "because of the bad choices women make" and that income disparity exists because "women want to work part time" and that poor people just need to "make more money."


On her website, she also staunchly defends cutting people off welfare because "this is about helping people".


Is cutting people aged 60-64 off welfare if they don't find a job "helping"? (See work requirements for 60-64 year olds at

Is cutting people with kids off welfare for missing appointments when they don't have a phone "helping"? Is putting pregnant women in danger of miscarrying because they can't get benefits for three weeks after losing a job "helping"? It is a biological fact that people who have no money for food or shelter get sick and die. Some will die sooner some will die later but in either case this government and Lynn Stephen's will interpret this as "helping" them when in fact these deaths will just help the government pay for all the tax cuts for the wealthy.

Many of the "single employables" rendered desperate and homeless are mothers who devoted decades of their lives to raising children. Continuing the species is onerous, stressful, time intensive hard work, but this 'hard work' does not make you 'get ahead' even though society and our economy 'must have' new generations of children to be workers and consumers.

Poverty, especially how it affects children, is a public health emergency; medical research shows that the biggest determinant of health is 'income'. Social spending cuts 'do not' save money. In the long term they will destroy our communities, our health and our future and our environment.

The attack on BC's most vulnerable people (all ages, all genders) is one of the reasons why women have come together to call a Womyn's Walkout for Dec. 8th. We demand the three Rs: Reinstate all that has been cut; Replace the starvation level and degrading welfare system with a Guaranteed Livable Income; and all MLAs who have taken or put people's lives at risk must resign.

Only in this way can we save lives, save kids, save our health and our planet's health.

Cindy L'Hirondelle
victoria Status of Women Action Group


To contact Minister Stephens:

Email: Lynn.Stephens.mla@leg.bc.ca
Mail: Victoria office:
Room 322, Parliament Buildings, Victoria
PO Box 9056 Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9E2
Phone: 250-387-1223
Fax: 250-387-4312

Her Langley office:

#6A - 5761 Glover Road
Langley, BC.V3A 8M8
Phone: 604-532-3693
Fax: 604-532-3696

For her bio:


Minister Stephens photo page:


Minister Stephens own web page:



Victoria Status of Women Action Group (SWAG)
250-383-7322 (ph) 250-388-0100 (fax)
Box 8484, Victoria BC, V8W 3S1
Coast Salish Territory

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